Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 11, 2017
But a Samaritan (foreigner), who was traveling, came upon him; and when he saw him, he was deeply moved with compassion [for him], and went to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them [to soothe and disinfect the injuries]; and he put him on his own pack-animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii (two days’ wages) and gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I return. Luke 10:33-35 AMP.
Not a radical lover in the romantic sense, though that deserves our attention, but a radical lover who mirrors God’s unconditional love and dismisses the distorted love of the world!
Jesus was approached by an expert in the law of God, who asked how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him what the law said; the teacher answered, to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. The Lord affirmed his answer and challenged the scholar to live out his beliefs. To justify himself, the proud religious leader asked the Teacher to define his neighbor, so He did. And to be crystal clear, Jesus told a remarkable story about the radical love of one despised by many Jews—a Samaritan, who went out of his way to care for one stripped, robbed, beaten and left for dead. Radical love is mercy and generosity to those different, even despised, by authoritative voices.
Our neighbors are those we encounter daily who are in need. In need of a kind word, in need of loving correction, in need of a hug, smile, connection, forgiveness, trust or a generous gift. Pride keeps our eyes on our needs, our wants, our desires and our little world. All other sins are ant bites compared to the venomous snake bite of pride. The sin of pride, like a gateway drug, gives access to all other sins. But humility has the ability to look beyond itself to God’s bigger picture and plan to love others beyond our comfort and cares. Radical love looks out for the forgotten.
Here are five ideas on what it means to become a radical lover for the Lord:
Paul learned to walk in another’s shoes, before seeking to draw conclusions on who they were and what they needed. Perhaps he dined in their homes and they in his, attended their worship services and worked beside them. Acceptance follows knowing and understanding someone. Not a blind endorsement of a lifestyle, but a wide eyed, honest engagement in a person’s world with an ultimate goal for those outside of Christ to be won to Christ through the Spirit’s wooing. For the sake of the gospel, whose world can you encounter to better understand them: their fears, their dreams and their needs? Radical love lingers with those who are different than themselves to show them Jesus and to speak to them about Jesus. Love accepts another and knows them.
A courteous disposition is an expression of kindness. It is the posture of putting another first in the conversation and not my own pressing issue. To look and listen in a way that gives an aching heart a safe environment to share its pain. Kindness comes in the form of a sincere smile, a tender tone or a languid laugh. A kind word like, “Thank you for being you” or a kind deed: celebrating a friend’s birthday over a meal and having each friend affirm their character. Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate—while gentleness can be a warm hug or soft answer. Radical love expresses gentleness in response to a harsh word or hard day. When we are kind and gentle to others we are able to endure unpleasantness and bind up broken hearts. Radical love is relentless to calmly clarify conversations, patiently forgive and unify hearts in Christ.
Everyday opportunities solicit servants of the Lord to look for ways to be generous. What a compelling apologetic for Jesus Christ, when we offer help to someone who needs to be lifted up, or extra dollars of gratitude to the server, the driver or the garbage man. Our generosity does result in many thanking God and some moving into closer communion with the Lord. God’s gift of grace wrapped around our salvation in Jesus, moves us to radically love since we have been radically loved by the compassionate cross of Christ. Becoming a radical lover grows a life of radical generosity. Like a young man wooing his bride to be, we also love with abundant gifts.
Christians who call out the world for being worldly, need to be called out for acting worldly. A worldly person will act like the world because that is who they are until they encounter the other worldly love of Christ. Rather, a believer’s act of judgment begins with believers, for a believer has confessed a creed of belief and a standard of behavior that is not of this world while the worldly have embraced the attitudes and actions of this present world. Only God ultimately holds another accountable for what they did with His son Jesus and how their life reflected His life. Perhaps our energy is better spent on loving the worldly in the church toward repentance and loving the worldly outside of the church toward confession and belief in Christ’s love and forgiveness. Radical love experiences God’s love so we are able to recognize His love at work in others.
There will always be someone who doesn’t like us: a colleague at work who is jealous of our work or a family member who resents our religious devotion. We may remind another of someone who soured their spirit. Rashly they default to see us like their past bad relationship. The accent in our voice or the tone of our skin can cause another to lock us in their ugly box of bias. Whatever the reason, we can still love them. We may not like them either, but with the eyes of Christ we can find something good in God’s created human being and love them for His goodness. Do not condone their bad behavior or evil intent, but love them where they are and pray they will grow beyond their heart’s grievances. Our love and prayers coupled with God’s grace are strong remedies to heal enemies who have been wounded, crushed and left for dead by the real enemy, Satan. Radical love helps restore defeated enemies.
“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
PrayerHeavenly Father, grow my heart of love, so it becomes normal to You, but radical to the world, in Jesus’ name, amen.
ApplicationWho comes to mind that I can reach out to and radically love in Christ’s name?
Related ReadingJeremiah 33:11; Micah 6:8; Luke 6:28; Colossians 4:5; 1 Timothy 3:7
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